THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The California Assembly late Wednesday overwhelmingly approved Bill 2987, which would overhaul the state's outdated cable franchising process and pave the way for new competitors such as Verizon to offer consumers a choice in video programming, better technology and lower prices. The bill, authored by Speaker Fabian Núñez and Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, had earlier been passed by the Assembly's Utilities and Commerce Committee and Appropriations Committee. The following statement can be attributed to Verizon West Region President Tim McCallion:
"The California Assembly has taken a major step toward true competition for cable TV services in our state. In cities where Verizon has been permitted to compete for subscription TV service, cable companies have slashed rates. Not only that, but customers are getting better rates and the superior technology only offered by Verizon's FiOS TV.
"Verizon has stepped up to the plate in California, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to deploy a unique fiber-optic technology that gives consumers the most advanced technology available all the way to their homes. More than 1,000 new employees are working today to build this new system, so not only are we creating exciting new options for consumers, but also important new jobs.
"The California Assembly recognizes that the old-fashioned cable-TV franchise system, designed for the days of a monopoly cable-TV provider, has outlived its value and today serves only to protect the incumbent from competition. The Assembly has recognized that the current franchising system is broken and that AB2987 is the solution.
"Speaker Núñez and Assemblyman Levine, together with coauthors Assemblymen Kevin McCarthy and George Plescia, have demonstrated their leadership by working with all interested parties to create a bill that fosters video competition while protecting the interests of consumers and communities."